Individual-, family- and school-based interventions to prevent multiple risk behaviours relating to alcohol, tobacco and drug use in young people aged 8-25 years: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Laura E Tinner*, Jennifer C Palmer, Caitlin Lloyd, Deborah M Caldwell, Georgie J MacArthur, Kaiseree I Dias, R M Langford, James Redmore, Linda Wittkop, Sarah H Watkins, Matt Hickman, Rona M Campbell

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
30 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Background
Engagement in multiple substance use risk behaviours such as tobacco smoking, alcohol and drug use during adolescence can result in adverse health and social outcomes. The impact of interventions that address multiple substance use risk behaviours, and the differential impact of universal versus targeted approaches, is unclear given findings from systematic reviews have been mixed. Our objective was to assess effects of interventions targeting multiple substance use behaviours in adolescents.

Methods
Eight databases were searched to October 2019. Individual and cluster randomised controlled trials were included if they addressed two or more substance use behaviours in individuals aged 8-25 years. Data were pooled in random-effects meta-analyses, reported by intervention and setting. Quality of evidence was assessed using GRADE. Heterogeneity was assessed using between-study variance, τ2 and Ι2, and the p-value of between-study heterogeneity statistic Q. Sensitivity analyses were undertaken using the highest and lowest intra-cluster correlation coefficient (ICC).

Results
Of 66 included studies, most were universal (n=52) and school-based (n=41). We found moderate quality evidence that universal school-based interventions are likely to have little or no short-term benefit (up to 12 months) in relation to alcohol use (OR 0.94, 95% CI: 0.84, 1.04), tobacco use (OR 0.98, 95% CI: 0.83, 1.15), cannabis use (OR 1.06, 95% CI: 0.86, 1.31) and other illicit drug use (OR 1.09, 95% CI: 0.85, 1.39). For targeted school-level interventions, there was low quality evidence of no or a small short-term benefit: alcohol use (OR 0.90, 95% CI: 0.74-1.09), tobacco use (OR 0.86, 95% CI: 0.66, 1.11), cannabis use (OR 0.84, 95% CI: 0.66-1.07) and other illicit drug use (OR 0.79, 95% CI 0.62-1.02). There were too few family-level (n=4), individual-level (n=2) and combination level (n=5) studies to draw confident conclusions. Sensitivity analyses of ICC did not change results.

Conclusions
There is low to moderate quality evidence that universal and targeted school-level interventions have no or a small beneficial effect for preventing substance use multiple risk behaviours in adolescents. Higher quality trials and study reporting would allow better evidence syntheses, which is needed given small benefit of universal interventions can have high public health benefit.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1111
JournalBMC Public Health
Volume22
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jun 2022

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